A copyright gives the owner the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, or license his work, including (but not limited to), literary, musical, dramatic, pictorial, artistic, audiovisual, and architectural work, and computer programs.
Learn more about copyright using the Copyright Questionnaire. Need a copyright assignment, see Assignment of Copyright.
View by State
Free Overview and FAQ
Copyright Forms - How to Protect Your Rights
Copyright forms to register a copyright are essential to protect you from copyright infringement. This article will take you through various concepts related to and about a copyright, including what is a copyright, what is copyright registration, how to copyright your literary work, how do I copyright my musical work, and how do you get copyright for computer software.
A copyright is an exclusive legal right granted to a creator of an original work to publish and sell that work. Copyrights authorize authors of literary work, composers of musical work, or artists to exclusively produce, publish, sale or distribute the copyrighted work for a specified number of years.
The creator of an original work can protect and register his/her copyright by forwarding a copyright application to the Copyright Office. A copyright application must contain the name and address of the owner of the work, as well as details of the work. If all the required information cannot be recorded on the basic copyright application form, an applicant can use a continuation sheet. A continuation sheet is supplied by the copyright office, and it accepts no other attachments along with the application form.
Copyright law stipulates that copyright registration is not mandatory for copyright protection. Pursuant to the Copyright Act of 1976, creators of original work automatically receive federal copyright protection when they publish their work. However, only the owner of a registered copyright can sue for copyright infringement. Therefore, it is always safer to have your copyright registered. A copyright application form and other copyright forms are available on our website.
You can use copyright protection for literary works that fall under the category of non-dramatic textual work. The law doesn't vary if literary works involved are works published or unpublished. Copyright law considers computer programs and databases to be literary work as well.
One can copyright music rights in several ways. You can acquire copyright protection for lyrics, composition, and the recording of the music separately. Music copyright law grants separate copyright protection for the vocal and instrumental music, as well as for the written lyrics and music. Pursuant to music copyrighting law, the lyricist of a song holds copyright over the music composition, and the studio that did the recording holds rights of recording. Information about copyright, copyright registration methods, and basic registration forms are available on the US Legal Forms website.
Apart from copyright, there are other intellectual property rights, such as trademarks and patents. Trademarks are a name, a word, a device, or a symbol/logo used to distinguish goods or services of one person or company from that of others. A registered trademark is a trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Before forwarding an application for registration of trademarks, a trademark search should be made. Like copyrights, federal registration of trademarks is not mandatory. Information on how to trademark a brand name and a wide variety of sample trademark registration forms are available on our website.
Trademarks are not the same as a patent. A patent is a right granted to an inventor of a unique invention/discovery. A patent right permits a owner to exclude others from making or selling the patented invention. Before forwarding an application for patent to the patent office, the applicant should do a patent search to check if a similar patent has already been filed or granted.
What is a copyright? What type of work does a copyright protect?
Copyright is an intellectual property right granted for any original work. Copyrights protect the way an idea is expressed in a tangible form and does not protect only facts or ideas. Works that can be protected by copyrighting are:
- literary works such as poetry, novels, computer software
- dramatic works such as movies
- musical works such as songs
- artistic works such as architecture
How do you get copyright protection for your work?
Copyright is granted to the authors of original works by the U.S. Copyright Office. For the copyrighting of original works, the works should be fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright protection can be obtained for both works published and also unpublished original works. For protecting an original work, an author has to register his/her copyright by forwarding a copyright application and prescribed fees to the U.S. Copyright Office. A copyright application is filed along with a continuation sheet for describing the work. After scrutiny of the application form, the U.S. Copyright office will register the work in the official records. Copyright registration enables the author of the work to take legal action against the publishing or selling of the copyrighted work by an unauthorized person.
Information about copyright including the copyright registration method is explained on the US Legal Forms website. You can also find basic registration forms and other copyright forms on our website.
How do I copyright my musical work?
Music copyright protects musical notes and lyrics in a musical composition. A composer or a music publisher can copyright music compositions. You can copyright your musical work by forwarding a copyright application for registering musical work with the U.S. Copyright office.
Can you give me guidelines on how to copyright a literary work?
Literary works like non-dramatic textual works can be protected by copyright. Registration of a literary work is optional since a literary work gets a copyright automatically. Once the literary work is put in a tangible form, the author gets a copyright. However, only registered works are eligible for statutory protection. Only registered copyright authors can claim damages and attorney's fees in litigation. The process of applying for a copyright of the literary work is the same as the copyright registration for any intellectual property.
What is copyright infringement?
Copyright infringement is the illegal or unauthorized use of copyrighted work. Copyright infringement occurs when exclusive rights of a copyright holder, granted by copyright law, are violated. Exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder by the Copyright Act are:
- right to reproduce
- right to perform
- right to distribute
- right to publicly display the work
How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?
Copyright, patent and trademark are all intellectual property rights. Such rights grant owners of an intellectual property the exclusive right to use the property. However, copyright, patent and trademark protect three different rights:
- a copyright protects original works of authors
- a patent protects inventions and discoveries
- a trademark protects and distinguishes words, symbols, and logos of one business from that of others
A patent is an exclusive right granted by a patent office to an inventor. Before forwarding an application for patent registration, a patent search should be conducted. A trademark is a word or sign that identifies the products or services of a person from that of others. Before forwarding a trademark application for registering a mark, a trademark search should be made to check whether there is any application pending for a similar mark or if a similar registered trademark already exists. Patent search and trademark search are done by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Can you tell me how to trademark a logo? Can I take copyright protection for a logo?
A logo can be legally protected by an owner with trademark registration. For the registration of a logo, the owner of the logo has to forward an application to the trademark office. The trademark office, after considering the distinctiveness of the logo, will grant trademarks registration. Trademark registration confers an exclusive right to the owner of the logo. Trademark registration forms are available on our website. You have to remember that a copyright does not protect logos, names, or words. Only the expression of an idea in a tangible form is protected by copyright.